LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that Kemar Roofe is ‘closing in’ on a return to the first-team squad - but he will again be missing for Friday’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday.
Roofe, outstanding during the first month of the Championship season, has been sidelined with a calf issue since the end of the last international break, with his last appearance coming in the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough on August 31.
Patrick Bamford and Izzy Brown remain longer-term casualties, with Gaetano Berardi (knee) - out since the draw with Boro - and Pablo Hernandez (hamstring), whose last appearance was in the 3-0 victory at Norwich City on August 25 - also still missing.
Bielsa, speaking ahead of the derby trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night, said: “Bamford and Brown won’t be with us for a long time. Roofe is close to the first team, not immediately. Berardi and Pablo Hernandez are not as close.”
Meanwhile, Bielsa believes that White Rose rivals Wednesday will represent a tactical challenge, with the Argentine mindful of the Owls’ number of options - particularly offensively and midfield - and tactical flexibility.
He said: “I think they are a team who have many possibilities from a tactical point of view - from offensive midfielders and strikers.”
Bamford and Brown won’t be with us for a long time. Roofe is close to the first team, not immediately. Berardi and Pablo Hernandez are not as close.Marcelo Bielsa